In the inner chambers of Congress, Democrats and Republicans are preparing for what could be a public relations nightmare: a shut down in the U.S. Senate. At issue, a contentious battle over President Bush's judicial nominees.
Mark Levin is a constitutional lawyer, radio talk show host and author who has written a new book called, "Men in Black: How the Supreme Court is Destroying America." Pat Robertson recently spoke with Levin about the growing problems in the Supreme Court.
PAT ROBERTSON: With us now from Washington is Mark Levin, author of the new book, "Men in Black: How the Supreme Court is Destroying America."
Mark, thanks for being with us on this program. You have a pretty sweeping indictment of the court. What are two or three of the major problems?
MARK LEVIN: Thanks for having me, Pat, I appreciate it. I see a lot of problems. One, as the book talks about, is the reliance on international law and international courts, which utterly undermines representative government in this country, and disenfranchises the American people. We have no say in what goes on in Guatemala, or Belgium or these other places.
The Supreme Court has no business relying on foreigners to interpret domestic law. It’s unconstitutional. I am very upset that they are inventing new tests for the very purpose of skirting the Constitution. You look at this decision last week, on the juvenile death penalty case. They almost never talk about the Constitution. They talk about polls, they talk about social science, which is selectively chosen, and they talk about India, Canada and Britain and everything but the Constitution.
What we have here, Pat, is an Olympian counsel that is utterly and completely out of control. It does not seem to matter who is president of the United States, try as these conservative Republican presidents might. And I know, I served in the Justice Department under Ronald Reagan.
When we put these folks on the court, half of them just jumped the railroad track and they became, they think, imbued by God with greater wisdom, judgment and intelligence than the rest of us.
ROBERTSON: What ever happened to Anthony Kennedy? He was just unbelievable. He was a conservative Catholic, and suddenly he’s talking about all these amazing rights.
And they seem to be willing to overturn existing cases having to do with sodomy or having to do with the juvenile death penalty, with abandon, and yet the liberals are crying out, you can’t touch Roe v. Wade. What’s the game?
LEVIN: Well, you are exactly right. The fact of the matter is, this court is held in high esteem by a lot of people and frankly, I don't know why. If you look at the history of the Supreme Court, it has a horrible record on the major issues.
In 1856, it not only upheld slavery, it imposed it on the free territories. In 1896, it said separate but equal is equal, when the Constitution doesn’t say that. In 1944, it upheld FDR’s internment of Japanese Americans. The Constitution doesn’t support that. Of course, in 1973, it imposed abortion on demand across the entire nation.
So, on slavery, segregation, due process and abortion, this court has been wrong. So why we hold it up on this moral pedestal, I will never know. These are imperfect human beings like the rest of us. There have been about 120 justices in our entire history on the Supreme Court.
Some have been brilliant, Pat, some have been average, some have been racist, some have been crooks, and some have been senile. One hundred and twenty people, that’s it. The Framers, as you know, you wrote an excellent book on this, the Framers never intended to swap one form of tyranny and monarchy for an oligarchy.
ROBERTSON: Senator (Robert) Byrd, a former Ku Klux Klan member, said that if you stop the filibuster of judges, this is somehow a Nazi movement. What kind of inflamed rhetoric is this?
LEVIN: It is pretty sick, to be perfectly honest with you. Senator Byrd himself has a very poor record. Not only was he a member of the Klan and an active member, but he was one of the leading segregationists throughout the 1960s, and he’s rewarded by his own party with the leadership role in the Senate.
I think we would do well to ignore him. Too bad the Democrats don't denounce him, and the other liberals. The fact is, the filibuster rule is just that, a Senate rule. These guys are undermining the United States Constitution by preventing the full Senate to give their advice and consent on presidential nominees.
Either the Republican leadership in the Senate will put an end to it, despite the whacky comments from Byrd and the bluster by Kennedy and Reid, and the rest of the Left wing, or they will not.
Now, are they going to defend the Constitution and this president’s rights to leave his imprint on the judiciary, or not? I certainly hope they do, and they kill that rule.
ROBERTSON: What else should we do? The American people feel somehow powerless when they are faced with this 5-4 oligarchy. What should we do about it?
LEVIN: Well, and that is exactly where the Left wants us, isn’t it? They can't win at the ballot box when they run on these radical points of view. So they defend, and they will defend to the end – the unelected, unaccountable judiciary.
There are several things we can do. It all involves representative government and pressuring our members of Congress. Number one, the Constitution is clear. Congress has the power to determine, within certain limits, the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, and without any limits, the jurisdiction of the lower courts.
It can bust up that Ninth Circuit Court in California, which is the nuttiest court in the Western hemisphere Also, I have two suggestions. It is not easy, Pat, but we have to get the debate rolling.
I believe we should amend the Constitution to limit the terms of federal judges and Supreme Court judges to one term, 12 years, and you are off. If they are going to act like politicians and legislators, Pat, they should not be there for life. And then, finally, Congress has the power to override a presidential veto of legislation.
Because, the Framers were concerned that the president would become too powerful. It is a two-thirds supermajority vote of both houses. I believe that Congress should have the same power in a Supreme Court decision, so we the people can have a say in this process, and not be dictated to, time and again, by five lawyers on the Supreme Court who refuse to follow the law of the land.
ROBERTSON: Mark, thank you for saying what I think we all believe. This book, ladies and gentlemen, is a New York Times bestseller, “Men in Black: How the Supreme Court is Destroying America.” One more damning indictment of the terrible action of the Supreme Court of the United States. Mark Levin, thank you again.
LEVIN: God bless you, sir.